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The last genus of the family Elephantidae is Mastodon, so called
from the structure of the molar teeth. These are provided with
but few transverse ridges, not more than five, so that their structure
is intermediate between those of Dinofherium and those of Stegodon,
Between the ridges are sometimes isolated, boss-like protuberances
(whence the name of Mastodon), produced by a subdivision of the
ridges. There is either but little or no cement between the ridges.
This genus differs from nearly all other Elephantidae by the posses-
sion of milk molars, which occasionally persist throughout life, the
permanent dentition in those cases being a mixture of milk
and permanent teeth, as has been (erroneously) stated of the
The tusks (incisors) are sometimes present in both jaws, and
as they have, during youth at any rate, a coating of enamel, the
likeness to the chisel-shaped incisors of Hodents is patent. In
connexion with the implantation of incisors in the lower jaw,
many species have a prolongation of the bones of that part of
the skeleton. In the bones, generally, there is not very much
difference from. JfilepTias, but the forehead is a little less pro-
nounced. The genus existed from the Miocene and became
extinct in the Pleistocene. It was nearly world -wide in range,
being known from all four continents. Naturally with this very
wide range was associated a large number of species. Zittei
enumerates no less than thirty-two.
This genus is the only one of the Elephantidae which extended
its range into South America, where the remains of two species
occur. The bones of these great Elephants have attracted attention
for some centuries. They were often held to be the bones of
giants (as they actually were 1), and in one ease were ascribed to a
deceased monarch, Teutobochus. The American Indians considered
that equally gigantic men lived who were able to combat these
great Proboscideans. There are legends of the Mastodons as living
animals, which is quite probable, considering their geological age.
There is a curious parallelism between the legends of two such
widely-separated localities as North America and Greece. Buffon
relates how among the Indians of Canada there was a belief that
t&e ®reat Being destroyed both Mastodons and men of equal
propartions, with thunderbolts. With this we may perhaps com-
pare the story of the destruction of Typhoeus by Zeus, who
1 0ee Boak m Sfatnx. ŁooL Soc* ?L 1868, p. 227.